He may be the littlest man on the court, but on Tuesday, Cedric de Joya proved that he had the biggest heart.
The 23-year-old playmaker went up against the towers of Wangs Basketball and banked the game-winning basket to carry Batangas to a gutsy 81-79 victory in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
“I just told myself that this will be mine and I leave everything to God. I’m happy that I made the shot,” he said in Filipino.
The 5-foot-5 De Joya has made a good account of himself since debuting with the franchise last conference.
Little as he may seem, the Calaca, Batangas native has shown relentlessness on defense and unbridled courage on his gutsy drives on offense where he goes up against bigger foes game-in and game-out. That earned him tons of praise from no less than coach Eric Gonzales.
“He’s slowly understanding how basketball is played because before, he’s not really a natural point guard and we’re still educating him. Now, I’m just thankful to our bosses that they invested on Cedric and somehow, he’s responding to whatever we’re teaching him,” the mentor said.
For De Joya, he’s just treasuring this rare chance to strut his stuff and learn from a champion coach like Gonzales.
“I always tell myself that I’m being given the chance here by coach and I have to give my best even though I’m smaller than our opponents. I need to show that I can go toe-to-toe with them. It was intimidating at first, but I know that if I get nervous, that won’t help. I just have to continuously work hard,” he said.
And he’s hopeful that all of this sacrifice will bear fruit in the end as he chases his elusive PBA dream.
“I want to show everyone that I can play despite my size. I’m happy that I’m playing here in the D-League, but I’m still not content. I wish that I can play in the PBA one day,” he said.